5 Important Ways to Handle Stress at Work

Even before COVID-19 upended life as we know it, Americans were stressed at work, with up to 40% of people reporting that their job was “very or extremely stressful.” Yet work stress can lead to both mental and physical health problems, making it very important to find ways to manage that stress. Since it’s nearly impossible to find a low-stress job, follow these tips to cope with your work stress.

Set the stage

Stress tends to build on itself, so make sure you’re not arriving at work with your stress already building. Instead, set the stage for a peaceful day with a bit of advance planning. Take a shower and lay out your clothes the night before. Get up a little earlier to make time for a proper breakfast. Take a few moments to breathe before leaving in plenty of time to account for traffic.

Clarify requirements

If you don’t know exactly what your job requirements are, how will you ever know what to prioritize? This is a sure path to work stress and eventual burnout, so ask for a meeting with your supervisor. Review what is expected of you and talk about ways of achieving your goals. You might just take some stress off your supervisor as well as yourself!

Minimize conflict

Conflict at work isn’t always easy to avoid, but engaging in it can dramatically boost your stress levels. Whenever possible, walk away from workplace drama, including watercooler gossip. If you must engage, use active strategies for conflict resolution to bring down the heat.

Take a lunchtime walk

Both fresh air and exercise are known to reduce stress levels. And simply getting out of the building for a bit can help clear your head. As often as possible, go for a walk during your lunch break, and try to get a bit of exercise on any other breaks as well.

Get comfortable

Did you know that even minor physical discomfort can compound your stress? Play some soothing music, invest in a more comfortable chair, and make your workstation as ergonomic as possible. You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to manage stress when you’re feeling your best physically.

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